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Town of Erwin BMA passes budget without tax increase

The Town of Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen, pictured, passed the town’s 2020-21 budget during a meeting on Monday, July 27. The budget does not include a property tax increase. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Richard Rourk)

By Richard Rourk

The Town of Erwin’s 2020-21 fiscal year budget is officially in the books.

Following a public hearing on Monday, July 27, in which no one spoke, the Town of Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously to approve the 2020-21 fiscal year budget unchanged from its previous vote to approve two weeks prior.

A motion to approve the final reading of the budget came from Vice Mayor Mark Lafever and was seconded by Alderman Gary Chandler.

Erwin officials are projecting $5,827,282 in revenue during the 2020-21 fiscal year. They are also projecting $5,870,613 in expenditures, leaving a deficit of $43,331. To cover the deficit, officials plan to use money from the town’s fund balance.

The current property tax rate for the Town of Erwin is $1.862 per $100 dollars of assessed land value and will remain so for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

The 2020-21 budget includes $1.18 million in capital projects and $1.4 million in state-funded street improvements. There is also $1.16 million set aside for street projects, including street resurfacing.

Capital projects included in the 2020-21 budget include completing the installation of a permanent traffic signal that is currently being constructed in front of the Food City entrance on Second Street. There are also several street resurfacing projects and sidewalk repairs included in the budget that did not get completed in the 2019-20 budget year.

Other capital projects in the budget include a new liner for the swimming pool at Fishery Park. The total amount budgeted for the swimming pool was $18,000 and includes everything from upkeep, supplies and employees to care for the pool.

Community Development Block Grants totaling $250,000 for capital projects were awarded without any matching funds or any costs to the town.

Also on Monday, the BMA agreed to road closures for future events.

The panel approved a request from Lois Shults-Davis to close a portion of Gay Street for a wedding on Friday Oct. 9, and Saturday Oct.10.

The BMA also voted unanimously to close a portion of Main Avenue to honor area law enforcement, fire department and all first responders with a celebration on Saturday, Aug. 1.

In a final order of business, the BMA voted unanimously to approve capital outlay notes to not exceed $1 million in paving projects.

According to Hensley, the capital outlays will be paid for by grants and tax revenue.

“These notes are included in the budget and will be covered by grants and taxes,” Hensley said. “We are looking at resurfacing all of our roads instead of just spot surfacing.”

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Following the BMA meeting, the Town of Erwin Beverage Board met and discussed issuing a beer license for Burnout BBQ and Grille, located at 857 Rock Creek Road in Erwin.

The owners also requested to add a 150-square-foot addition that is estimated to be a $60,000 improvement to the restaurant. Thomas Seeley, the town’s attorney, explained what steps would need to be done to allow the addition.

“Usually when you have a grandfathered building such as this you don’t allow for an addition,” Seeley said. “Their next step would be to seek a rezoning of their property to allow it.”

Burnout BBQ and Grille is located in a residential zone.

“Hopefully we can schedule a special called zoning commission meeting in the coming weeks to expedite this matter,” Hensley said. “If you have been by the restaurant on a Sunday or Monday, you could see they need the extra space.”

As of The Erwin Record’s deadline, no special zoning commission meeting is scheduled and no beer license was issued during Monday’s meeting.